Wool in my soup

I am a 67 year-old grandmother living on Vancouver Island. I have crocheted, cross-stitched and rug hooked, but I always had yarn on needles. Recently knitting has become my primary hobby!

Location: Canada

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Sky! - the last one for September 2006

This is a beautiful sky photo from 6:30 this morning, but now it is 3:30 pm and we have had sunshine and now it is cloudy. After all, it is fall, but I want sunny skies every day and all day!!

I just had to take a break. We are having folks in to dinner tonight and I made a smoked cod chowder. It tasted delicious, and I was sure that I had turned off the heat - NOT SO!! Now it is curdled and I am not sure if I can save it! It may go in the fridge for J and me, but what to do. I have to come up with a quick soup! I do have an Irish Soda Bread in the oven, so that is a start. I make this bread often, but having spent time with Jo, it has taken on a new meaning. I was told many years ago by my Mom that a gal should know how to make good biscuits and quick breads, as they would always come in handy if unexpected guests arrived!!

I got an Irish Soda Bread Cookies from Knitting Iris.
I made up a batch, just in case Jo and R had time to come to my house and have a cup of tea or a meal - next time. Go to Iris's blog and see the beautiful fall colour!

Now, back to the kitchen to dream up a soup!! Cream of Tomatoe, perhaps or Pumpkin!

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words!

Here are some photos of Jo and me in Courtenay yesterday! We are both oblivious to all the cares of this world and just revelling in our new friendship. We have already set up an exchange of fibres!!

There is a photo of Jo and me meeting in the hallway down to my favourite LYS - Uptown Yarns. My DH, John, is watching the sheer pleasure of two bloggers meeting for the first time. In the photo of us walking, we are on our way to Hot Chocolates, very near my LYS. You can see my knitting peeking out of the bag! We showed each other our current projects, but we chatted so much that really it was all about friendship and love - for finding a woman who you knew was more like you than you could have imagined. Isn't Jo's smile just the best?

The top photo is of our first big hug! We both thought the other was short - we are about 5'7" and 5'8". Not short by today's standards, but the big hearts tell it all! I wish you all the joy of meeting a fellow blogger.

You can be sure the postal services of Ireland and Canada will be busy with packages of fibrey goodness and perhaps a bit of chocolate crossing the 'pond'. Oh yes, we have just had the most fantastic weather for Jo and Richard's visit and I hope they leave it behind when they leave for home. We will have rains here, but I hope not for a bit yet. Now off to pay a visit to the knitting needles!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

When Bloggers Meet - Pure Joy!

I was waiting outside my LYS and there she was with her DH and I knew right away that this was Jo and her beautiful smile said it all to me. What pure joy to meet a fellow blogger - and to think that we both have not even been blogging for six months. This is the best thing about blogging! How else would an Irish lass and a Canadian gal meet when they live half-way around the world from each other?

We exchanged gifts. I was the lucky recipient of two skeins of yarn. Jo, I have already chosen a pattern for the Aran! It will be this vest and 200gr should be enough - if not, we can get more - RIGHT?

The yarn is from Kerry Woolen Mills and is an Aran weight. The pattern is from Sally Melville in her Purl book! I had thought of a vest with celtic patterns, but as I just wrote this, I thought - perhaps a celtic knot on the back and a small one on one side of the front! The only problem might be that the twists and turns would 'eat' so much yarn! How many yards do you think there would be in 200gr of Aran weight yarn? It will be something I can wear with lots of memories floating about my head of my wonderful few hours with Jo in my LYS. I will also need some terrific buttons, but no problem, as my LYS also carries beautiful buttons. I live in a small community, but I think Jo will attest that we have one beautifully stocked yarn shop run by a young gal with enthusiasm and attention to serving her customers. You could not ask for more.

The other yarn she brought to me is going to be a shaped scarf - you know the one that I knit with Goldilocks - that one. It is a terrific scarf, as the little triangle fills in what Jo and I agreed was not the most attractive part of our bodies!! Won't it just be beautiful? Again, another Sally Melville pattern from the Knit 1 book! I am afraid that the photo does not do justice to the beautiful blues, mauves and greens in the yarn. Wish I had gotten Richard to take a photo of the yarns with his Skookum camera. No that is not a brand, but a way we have here of saying that something is wonderful, terrific, just right, etc.

I had gone in to my LYS earlier in the week to see if I could arrange for Jo and I to go to the shop of Judy MacLean in our area. Judy is a charming gal who hand spins and paints yarns in beautiful, just beautiful, colourways. It was not to be, as she is a busy gal and it takes time away from her dyeing to give "tours". I understand this and said that at least we could show Jo some hand spun and hand dyed yarns from our community. We were busy chatting, shopping, more chatting, more fingering yarns, more chatting - you get the picture. Anyway, Jen, who owns the shop and her Mom, Judy, were most generous in allowing us to almost take over the little shop. We were busy gazing at Judy's yarns, when who should walk into the shop - you got it - JUDY!!! I did not arrange it, but it happened. We got to spend well over a half hour talking to Judy and I bought a small skein to make a scarf, but I will return to get more. This is only my second skein of Sweatermaker yarns, but it won't be my last! She is a true artist, but very approachable and friendly. I hope Jo enjoyed meeting her as much as I did and what luck to be there when she came in to get some of her product to take home to make a shawl she is working on! My guardian angel was a busy gal today!

Here is my Sweatermaker yarn! Wish we had remembered a camera to take a photo of Jo and Judy!

John, my DH, and Richard went off to see some of the Valley and we met them at the chocolate shop across from Uptown Yarns. We had coffee and a snack - no chocolate - how did we manage that little faux pas! Next time! Richard took some wonderful photos that you can see on Jo's site!

There is another LYS in the area, but Jo and Richard had an appointment further north, so they had to leave. Perhaps Jo can make a visit when they are on their way back - sure hope so! It was so lovely to meet such a delightful couple and the four of us had a wonderful time. Knitters are just the nicest people. I came home and knit and thought of my good fortune to meet a fun couple from another country, share our time with them and show them a small part of our world. Life is very sweet!

I Just Can't Wait!!

I am off to meet another knitting blogger at my LYS!! It is Jo from Celtic Memory Yarns! Aren't I just the lucky one?!

We have only been blogging and visiting each others blogs for less than six months. How did we find each other? I think I wrote to Brenda and Jo read it and then looked at my blog. Now the question is how did she get to Brenda - I think she went to Fun Knits and this LYS is one that Brenda goes to, as it is very near her - then the question is how did she get to Fun Knits. Since Jo lives near Dublin and there seems to be a lack of fibre there, she does a lot of mail ordering! Anyway, she reached me, we struck up an email friendship and she is holidaying/working/stash enhancing/enjoying in my part of BC, she and I are to meet.

I think we will know each other from our photos. I am the tall one with white hair, and I get the feeling that Jo is not very tall, has brown hair and a beautiful smile. She will be the one with the armload of books and fibre! We also will visit a chocolate shop across from the yarn shop and then, hopefully, go to a new yarn shop in Cumberland - about a 15 minute drive from where my other LYS - Uptown Yarns - is located.

I will have some photos tomorrow of our visit! I am hoping we can get the husbands involved and perhaps have a meal together tonight. Oh, but this is wonderful.

Last year I made a resolution to find one good friend - I do have several now - and perhaps my resolution took a bit longer to come to fruition. I know I have met some wonderful knitters through this blog. There is always room for one more knitting friend - and she loves dogs too!

Think of us invading two yarn shops and a chocolate shop!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sweaters - Can A Gal Have Too Many?

I started on a sweater I had bought the yarn for in Oklahoma in June. It is Tilia from Elsebeth Lavold and it is done in Silky Wool by Elsebeth! I love the colour, and wonder of wonders, it actually looks great with the Goldilocks scarf I knit from Fleece Artist yarn and Sally Melville's book Knit 1.

It is a sweater to be worn outside pants and skirts and the design is of leaves - seems that cascading leaves are showing up in lots of patterns that I like and the ribbing sets the 'leaves' off. The leaves go up into the stockinette part of the sweater and I think the neck is a great design. Here is a close up of the leaf pattern.

Do you ever wonder if you will meet bloggers face to face, especially when they live in Ireland and you live on the West Coast of Canada? Well, it is my good fortune to have Jo of Celtic Memory Yarns coming to visit later in the week. I will take her to my two LYS and across the street from one of them is a chocolate shop - they make their own chocolates, ice cream, bread and pastries. Can you see us both sitting having a treat and talking fibers? I am so looking forward to her visit. Perhaps she can give me some hints on how to write with such conviction and have some beautiful photos to illustrate her homeland. I think she has worked on her journalism and shares her life with a professional photographer! Anyway, think of us this Thursday or Friday as we become acquainted and who knows, we may become good friends - a girl can never have too many handknit sweaters or knitting friends!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm Back Home!

I arrived home on Wednesday evening, but I have been busy settling in and admiring all my new yarn buys!!

I visited many yarn shops while away, so I will write about them in order!

Lismore Sheep Farm was my first stop. I have had trouble today making the link to the address so it can be reached at www.lismoresheepfarmwoolshop.com Here is where I bought myself a pair of birch swing needles. These are perfect for knitting hand-painted yarns, as you can work two balls of yarn at the same time. Many of you have seen them, and I have yet to give mine a try. I also bought a few little supplies to try my hand at dry needle felting!! John has been working on circular needles, but as I can attest, the join of the needle to the 'line' is all important and when he can find a means of perfecting this, he will create circular needles! I bought my first ball of Sea Silk in this beautiful shop with a view of the Northumberland Strait! I also bought my first shawl pin - it is made from birch and I plan to stain it. It is through a piece of Nova Scotia tartan!

After visiting friends, we went on to London Wul Farm! This was a treat and even though I only bought a book, it is my favourite book to date. It is Book 1: The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville. If you do NOT like garter stitch, this is not the book for you. However, I do like garter stitch and the book is full of techniques, hints and lots of good information, as well as some beautiful patterns. London Wul Farm is having a KAL starting on January 7 2007 of the Einstein Coat in this book! I have purchased the yarn and buttons and am awaiting the date to start. So that I got the technique in my head, I knit the Baby Albert Coat for 0-3 months. I liked the method, and found a few things I have a question about, so it was worth knitting a 'model' before attempting the coat! Actually, the Einstein Coat would be too warm for my climate, so I am knitting the Not So Warm Coat in Paton's Katrina!

This is the Baby Albert coat knit with SANDNES Smart. I will include a photo of the seam detail. With the method used at the first stitch of each row - sl1 purlwise, yarn in back and knit, you get a wonderful 'chain' on the edge, which makes picking up stitches and seaming so easy and gives a wonderful effect!

If you have gone to the London Wul Farm website, you will see all the interesting classes proposed for the coming year. Sure wish the commute was not so long and expensive! There is one on embroidery and I want to be able to do this on my knitting, such as Lene at Dances With Wool does on her beautiful work! It is a beautiful shop. Sheep can be seen outside the window, angora goats and also the dye garden. Heidi, the owner, told us she has seven full freezers. She shears her sheep, sends the fleece off to Briggs and Little for spinning and when it returns, so that she can be sure of no moths, she freezes it, thaws it and then freezes it again - this breaks the egg cycle of the moth. She also freezes the flowers and roots she uses in dyeing, as this time of year is very busy for her with getting classes organized, etc. If you have a chance, please visit, you will not be disappointed.

I had a few days break from fibery goodness, but my next visit was LK Yarns in Halifax. I had my trusty book in hand to get some yarn for my coat - what luck - the yarn I wanted was on sale!! It normally retails for $7.95 a ball and was on for $4.00 a ball - even further savings - if you took a bag of 10, it was $35.00 a bag, so 10 @ $35.00 plus 3 @ $4.00 and I had the yarn for $47.00 plus some wonderful pewter buttons! I also purchased some Fleece Artist Goldilocks in a green and mauve colourway to make the scarf to go with the coat. Goldilocks is 65% Kid Mohair, 24% Silk and 20% nylon. I knit the scarf on the plane on my return home!

I wish I could learn to write beside the photos! I am happy with my choice of yarn, buttons and scarf for the project. I did not truly enjoy working with the Goldilocks yarn, as it was 'catchy' and you had to watch the work! I do love that scarf pattern, as it fills in at the front of the neck and only needs one wrap and I know I will knit it again and again.

I also bought my second shawl pin - this one is pewter and is designed by the sister of the gal, Kathryn Thomas, who owns and manages Fleece Artist. The pewter designer also is the aunt of the gal who hand paints the Sea Silk - guess her relationship to Kathryn! What a talented group of ladies!

The shawl pin is on the 'shrug' I was knitting from DROPS rayon and cotton yarn - now it is completed and ready for wearing!

I am going to show some pictures from my wonderful trip to Fleece Artist! What a thrill! I felt like a child in an ice-cream shop and the colours delighted my soul. I took a photo of Kathryn, but unfortunately, for me, it was too blurry - excitement I guess. It was a beautiful day and when we arrived we were greated with skeins of yarn drying in the fresh air and sunshine. I had a wonderful chat with Kathryn and then peaked into the Dye House. It was just too strong to go in and the gal was wearing a heavy duty mask, so conversation was limited. I was amazed at how little dye water was in the two large stainless steel pans on the stove. Such beautiful colours! I asked Kathryn if she overdyes skeins that do not come out as she wished. She said that she has lost all colour prejudice, as those skeins she does not think will be popular knit up beautifully! She is the gal who also encouraged John of River John Needle Company to create the Swing Needle for knitting up more than one skein of hand painted yarn! She is a wee bit of a girl and while I was there, she was getting an order ready for Texas. Her shop is busy, busy and I hated to take her from her work, but my guilt did allow me to spend some time in a knitter's paradise. She showed me the vest that is currently appearing in Canadian Living magazine, October issue. I checked their blog at www.Canadianliving.com and the pattern is not there just yet, but I see there is a kit available at all the stores that carry Fleece Artist.

I think the picture of the yarn, sign and echanicea is particularly a good one, but the others do show lots of fibery goodness! Hope you enjoy them and feel you were there with me. It was one of the highlights of my trip! The first photo is of the inside of the dye house and the hooks hanging from the wooden frame are where the skeins hang for drying in less than ideal weather.

I went on from Halifax to my nursing school reunion down the South Shore of NS. It was 45 years since graduation!! I went to a delightful yarn shop in Mahone Bay called Have A Yarn and got a skein of Kid Silk that is shown with the Sea Silk. I learned from Kathryn that Sea Silk is produced in Germany, spun in Switzerland and then arrives in Vancouver, Canada for hand painting. Such travelled yarn!

I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me, now to find the time to knit up the fibery purchases. Now I am going to post this before something drastic happens!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Just Had To Show You My Gift!

Today I met with Lisa from www.mydailydistractions.blogspot.com. She is a young blogger here in the Valley where I live and it was so nice to meet a fellow knitter. We exchanged some books to peruse and the dear girl gave me this beautiful skein of lace weight yarn that she dyed herself. Isn't it beautiful. I wonder what it would look like in the Icarus Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 2006. It is fairly plain for the main part of the shawl and that would allow the beautiful colourway to shine!

You know, I am old enough to be Lisa's Mom, but I felt that we could share some fun times together, because of our love of knitting. She is a delightful young woman and she is a beautiful knitter. She brought a toe up sock to show me, and that is definitely something that I plan to make this fall. Now I have someone near by to help, if needed. She is also going to teach me to do cables without a needle. That is what makes blogging so worthwhile for me. When you want to do something different in knitting or find yourself in a tricky knitting situation - help is at hand, and Lisa is very close at hand.

I was feeling overwhelmed by her gift of yarn and racking my brain for something that I could give to Lisa, although I certainly did not feel that Lisa expected anything. Well, I may have mentioned that I do NOT like Addi Turbos - Lisa loves them and I had a pair of 5mm Addis - now Lisa has them and I am so pleased. They have gone to a good home.

We did go over to our LYS and I introduced Lisa to the owner, her Mom and one of the gals who works there - it is nice when you go in and they call you by name. Lisa got some great books and I got one more ball of the beautiful red DROPS for my shrug - it is travelling with me and may even make its debut at the big dinner for my nursing class!! I also took her to a shop here that sells great beads. Lisa has only lived her a short while, so it takes some time to find these little shops that carry items you might want in your knitting.

Now I am out of here for sure and must start putting things into a suitcase! See you when I return with some fibery goodness and pictures!!

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